Family for the Holidays

I am sure that many of you will be spending Thanksgiving with family this year.  Our relationships with our family members are the most expressive relationships we have – both good and bad.  They are the people who know us the best because they have known us the longest.  However, the holidays don’t always bring out the best in us.  The holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s tends to be one of the most stressful times of the year and, let’s face it, none of us is at our best when we are stressed out.

Our lives seem to be taken over by cooking, shopping, wrapping, decorating and preparing for family to visit.  It is the preparing for family to visit that I want to talk about today.  The most important preparation we can do is to spend some time with the Lord.  I know there is laundry to do, cleaning to be done, recipes to find, groceries that need to be bought and rooms to be prepared for company.  BUT, the most important preparations take place in our hearts and minds even before the company arrives.

Many of us only see our extended family a couple of times a year.  The words we speak, the way we behave and the way we respond to others will be the memory our family members take with them until the next time we are all together.  The holidays are a wonderful time for us to practice the two greatest commandments.  When Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is, He responds in Matthew 22:37-39. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

If during the holiday season, we start by putting our focus where it needs to be, on God, we will be filling our heart and mind with Him and His love for us.  Then we are told to love others.  Can you imagine how family gatherings might look a little different if we would love God first and then love others?  Maybe some of the same arguments and hurt feelings wouldn’t rear their ugly heads.  Instead of seeing our family members the way they were at one time or the way they once treated us, we could see them from God’s perspective and love them the way He first loved us.  

Start your holiday season off on the right foot and put your focus on the Lord first, then love your family members the way Christ loves you!

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4 thoughts on “Family for the Holidays

  1. Fredrica

    Amen Shelly! You are so right, the most important “prep” time is our time with the Lord, but how often do we skip that time to check an item off of the to do list as we make our holiday preparations. I did that yesterday….today I got it right! Congratulations on your new website!!!!!

  2. It is the “prep” time with the Lord that will help us face whatever today may bring! It’s funny how we think we can skip our time with God because we have so much to do because in that thought process we forget that He has a plan for us and He already knows how much we want to accomplish in our day. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

  3. Hi Shelly! This year we started a new tradition with our son. On Thanksgiving morning we met with our church to feed the needy and then went searching for homeless people on the streets to give them meals and pray with them. Exposing our son to the realities of our world, even at a grade school age, is a great learning experience for him. After we were done, we explained things to him and answered his questions. It was such a blessing to see God at work in our lives, especially as a family. 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your new tradition! Sounds like a great way to help your son develop a heart for serving others. What a blessing you and your family were to others – great way to be Christ in your community!

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